“When the storms of life are raging stand by me.”
Tonight I am thinking of this old song made popular in our church by Bishop Harper Hunter (1922-2012). It was a song that I heard Bishop Hunter sing, and that I played often on the old 33/1/3 rpm record player in my room. It was a song I heard my mother sing when she was facing some of the greatest storms of life that would have broken most people. She sang from her heart and she sang it with joy!
This song has been going over in my mind because I drove through a severe storm on Interstate 40 today that brought traffic to a standstill. The wind was howling and the rain was blowing in sheets, at times the rain seemed to be coming from every direction.
The storm lasted quite a while and grew worse the farther I traveled. Two or three times I thought about stopping alongside the road, but I realized the possibility of another motorist hitting my car was elevated, and it seemed to be best to just keep driving into the storm.
It was then that I realized the parallels with the old song. Anyone looking into my car would have only seen me, the driver of the vehicle with no passengers, but in reality I was not alone. As I drove through the dangerous storm, the Lord was there with me. My mind went back a few years to a day when tornadoes destroyed one of our churches in Oklahoma. Interestingly enough, I was on Interstate 40 that day too. After hearing of the destruction of the church, I immediately drove to the area to assist in whatever way possible. One of the services that the State of Oklahoma can show off with pride is their weather forecasting ability. That day, I listened on the radio (while driving) and the broadcaster was telling people to take immediate shelter, that two tornadoes were on the ground…one on the north side of the highway and one of the south side. Suddenly I realized I was driving between the tornadoes. I couldn’t go left or right and I couldn’t go back, I simply continued into the storms. It was foreign to common sense to take such a risk, but I never have claimed to be the smartest man in town.
While these natural storms come and go in our world, there are spiritual storms that rage in the lives of people everywhere. The storms of poor health, poverty, weakness and fear rage as we try to walk through the valleys God has allowed us to be in. I am at a place like that tonight, maybe you are too.
I face questions with no answers, problems with no resolution in sight and battles that defy description. In that place where the storm is raging on each side, and in some cases behind us, but at the same time still in front of us. But what can we do? How do we deal with it?
When the problems reach that place we can only remember that we are NOT alone. In fact, we are NEVER alone. You see, Jesus has promised us that he would “never leave or forsake us.” (Hebrews 13:5) So, as we try to find our way through the howling spiritual winds, keep your focus ahead of you. For when the “storms of life surround me, He will stand by me.” And He will stand by you too!